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Andy Shields on his new venture, AD&CO

By, Sergio Burns

What you are holding in your hands as you read this, is the individual work of every team member at Ayrshire Magazine brought together, linked together – like a jigsaw – to give us the whole. The collator of these disparate parts, the writing, the photography, adverts and design elements, is AM’s Head of Creative, Andy Shields. He takes the individual produce of all the team and brings it all together in the finished magazine. A quality designed publication we want every one of you to enjoy.

“Working for the magazine I strive to create a unique, informative and visually interesting publication,” he explained. “I have progressed it since joining, it has moved in a direction that is only good for Ayrshire. A quality designed magazine that the people and businesses of Ayrshire can relate too. That has kind of led me to this turning point in my career.” 

So, where did it all start for the talented Mr Shields? 

“I started college at Kilwinning,” he told me of his early days studying his craft. “I am still close with Ayrshire College, and my first lecturer Janet Jamieson (lecturer in Art, Design and Photography). I started studying an HND in Graphic Design and New Media, progressing from there…I was lucky enough to get into the Cardonald College Advanced Diploma course. There were only two spaces available in the whole of Scotland. So, out of two places I got one…that was an achievement in itself, (and) while I was at college I was awarded Design Student of the Year, whatever that means.” 

He laughed, but I suggested, on a serious note, that he must have been delighted with the award. 

“Of course I am proud of it,” he nodded and continued. “While at college I was working for a local retailer called D2 Jeans, a fashion store in Irvine. One Saturday the Operations Director, Stevie Davidson popped in and I asked him: ‘Is there any chance of a job at head office doing design?’ They were based in Dundonald. I went there for the interview, got the job, designing everything for the company from store posters, point of sale and t-shirts. I actually designed one of their best selling jackets of that year. I still worked in the shop two days a week, it was great experience because you got to see everything, from start to finish, the warehouse, putting the clothes out on the shop floor, setting up window displays and being able to design. I will never forget the kindness Stevie showed me for taking a chance and giving me my first break into the world of design.” 

At this point Andy was working a six day week, two days in the shop and four working on design. 

“I was on my lunch one day at D2,” he explained. “I noticed that there was a web design company downstairs, I walked in and asked: ‘Have you got any jobs going?’” 

He laughed again, but his job finding modus operandi had worked once more. It was a moment he never regretted because yet again the experience he gained from his next move proved invaluable. 

“I got a job designing websites with a cracking team of people,” he revealed. “These were not just ordinary websites these were sites for high-end fashion brands: Bench, All Saints and Reiss to name a few. Fantastic…place of work. 

Because of the circumstances around the financial world at that time 2008- 2010…some of the bigger companies were taking their design in-house. Once realising this I moved to Glasgow for work and joined one of the Directors from that business doing pretty much the same thing, under a different guise called Cargo. It was amazing working with the big brand names such as Brantano, Missguided and Gio-Goi, traveling over the border to England, I met a lot of interesting characters, designers, and business owners. One that will always stay with me is…

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